Faculté des sciences

A review of the fossil record of turtles of the clade Thalassochelydia

Anquetin, Jérémy ; Püntener, Christian ; Joyce, Walter G.

In: Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, 2017, vol. 58, no. 2, p. 317–369

The Late Jurassic (Oxfordian to Tithonian) fossil record of Europe and South America has yielded a particularly rich assemblage of aquatic pan-cryptodiran turtles that are herein tentatively hypothesized to form a monophyletic group named Thalassochelydia. Thalassochelydians were traditionally referred to three families, Eurysternidae, Plesiochelyidae, and Thalassemydidae, but the current... Plus

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    Summary
    The Late Jurassic (Oxfordian to Tithonian) fossil record of Europe and South America has yielded a particularly rich assemblage of aquatic pan-cryptodiran turtles that are herein tentatively hypothesized to form a monophyletic group named Thalassochelydia. Thalassochelydians were traditionally referred to three families, Eurysternidae, Plesiochelyidae, and Thalassemydidae, but the current understanding of phylogenetic relationships is insufficient to support the monophyly of either group. Given their pervasive usage in the literature, however, these three names are herein retained informally. Relationships with marine turtles from the Cretaceous have been suggested in the past, but these hypotheses still lack strong character support. Thalassochelydians are universally found in near-shore marine sediments and show adaptations to aquatic habitats, but isotopic evidence hints at a broad spectrum of specializations ranging from freshwater aquatic to fully marine. A taxonomic review of the group concludes that of 68 named taxa, 27 are nomina valida, 18 are nomina invalida, 18 are nomina dubia, and 5 nomina oblita.